Ana Iti

Ana Iti

Whakaruruhau, 2024, aluminium and shade cloth. 

Thanks to INEX Metals Ltd and Total Fabrication & Welding.

The kahukura, an endemic butterfly, lays its eggs in the leaves of the ongaonga, a native stinging nettle. Small spikes cover the ongaonga’s stem and a line forms on the midrib of its leaves. As a fortress against predatory mammals and birds, it offers a sanctuary for kahukura and their larvae. Ana Iti’s Whakaruruhau recalls both the plant’s leaves and the butterfly’s wings. Made of gardeners’ shade cloth tensioned across metal frames, it creates a small space of shelter, like the ongaonga. It emphasises the symbiotic relationship that has evolved between creature and plant over centuries. Presented in the landscape, it situates this relationship within a larger, interconnected ecosystem, made up of many such exchanges.

Ana Iti (b.1989, Te Rarawa, Pākehā) is based in Te Matau-a-Māui/Hawkes Bay. She gained a BFA in Sculpture from Ilam School of Fine Arts, in Ōtautahi/Christchurch, in 2012, and an MFA from Toi Rauwharangi Massey University, in Te-Whanganui-a-Tara/Wellington, in 2018. She works in sculpture and video, and has made works referring to Maori writers, including Keri Hulme, J.C. Sturm, and June Mitchell, and to the early te reo Māori newspaper Te Pīpīwharauroa. Solo projects include A Dusty Handrail on the Track at Te Uru Waitākere Contemporary Gallery, in 2021; Roharoha at Gus Fisher Gallery, Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland, in 2022; and I Must Shroud Myself in Stinging Nettle at City Gallery Wellington, in 2023. In 2020, she was included in Toi Tū Toi Ora at Auckland Art Gallery, and, in 2024, she will show there again, in the Walters Prize.